American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Witness Testimony: David Blankenhorn

On the final two days of trial, the anti-marriage proponents of Proposition 8 called David Blankenhorn to testify about marriage and the family.

Blankenhorn is the founder and president of the Institute for American Values, a think tank that studies marriage in America.  AFER’s attorneys objected to Blankenhorn’s qualification as an expert.  The district court agreed, finding Blankenhorn’s opinion testimony to be “unreliable and entitled to essentially no weight.”

Under cross-examination by AFER attorney David Boies, Blankenhorn admitted under oath that “I believe that today the principle of equal human dignity must apply to gay and lesbian persons.  In that sense insofar as we are a nation founded on this principle, we would be more American on the day we permitted same-sex marriage than we were on the day before.”

In a June 2012 New York Times op-ed, Blankenhorn concluded that “the time has come for me to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do.”  “[T]o my deep regret, much of the opposition to gay marriage seems to stem, at least in part, from an underlying anti-gay animus,” Blankenhorn wrote.

John C. Reilly reenacted David Blankenhorn’s testimony at the Los Angeles premiere of the play “8,” which also included Brad Pitt as Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker and George Clooney as attorney David Boies.

Testimony Highlights

“The studies show that adoptive parents, because of the rigorous screening process that they undertake before becoming adoptive parents, actually on some outcomes outstrip the biological parents in terms of providing protective care for their children.”


“Gay marriage would be a victory for the worthy ideas of tolerance and inclusion.”


“I believe that adopting same-sex marriage would be likely to improve the well-being of gay and lesbian households and their children.”


“By increasing the number of married couples who might be interested in adoption and foster care, same-sex marriage might well lead to fewer children growing up in state institutions and more growing up in loving adoptive and foster families.”


“Because marriage is a wealth-creating institution, extending marriage rights to same-sex couples would probably increase wealth accumulation and lead to higher living standards for these couples as well as help reduce welfare costs (by promoting family economic self-sufficiency) and decrease economic inequality.”


“Gay marriage might contribute over time to a decline in anti-gay prejudice as well as, more specifically, a reduction in anti-gay hate crimes.”


“Same-sex marriage would likely contribute to more stability and to longer-lasting relationships for committed same-sex couples.”


“Gay marriage would extend a wide range of the natural and practical benefits of marriage to many lesbian and gay couples and their children.”


“Extending the right to marry to same-sex couples would probably mean that a higher proportion of gays and lesbians would choose to enter into committed relationships.”